Horror and weird fiction is in an amazing place right now. With so many great authors doing such awesome things, it can be hard to know where to start. I wanted to write a little post to recommend some writers to check out, as well as some short stories they’ve written to ease you in. This is not an all-inclusive list (that would be impossibly long) and I intend to do follow-ups to this post in the future. Cool? Cool. Let’s jump in!
The Story to Get You Started: ‘Blackwood’s Baby’ from The Beautiful Thing That Awaits Us All
Laird Barron is my current favorite author. His style is wholly unique. It’s a mix of white-knuckled adventure tales and truly awe-inspiring cosmic/weird horror. I know it’s common for people to say “So scary it gave me NIGHTMARES” but, in my case, it’s true. I was staying at my in-laws and reading my Kindle while my wife slept next me. I read until I couldn’t keep my eyes open before shutting my Kindle down. One of his stories from his newest collection leaked into my dreams. It was scary. And I loved it. ‘Blackwood’s Baby’ has all of his trademarks in spades.
The Story to Get You Started: ‘Painted Monsters’ from Painted Monsters & Other Strange Beasts
Orrin Grey writes monsters. And I don’t think anyone does them better. This collection is chock full of them. My favorite story (though I like them all) is the title story ‘Painted Monsters’. I don’t want to give anything away, so I won’t. I will say this though: It’s crazy, fun, and filled with references to decades of horror cinema. This story is the final story in the collection and I feel like it’s a terrifying wrap-up to all the stories that came before. It’s Orrin Grey’s fiction distilled. Just be careful. It’s a little slimy.
The Story to Get You Started: ‘The Revel’ from The Wide, Carnivorous Sky & Other Monstrous Geographies
I feel kind of dumb when I read John Langan. Which, if you think about it, is a good thing! His fiction is dense and smart, and he often slices up the genre, usually reveling (pun intended) in all the gooey bits beneath. This collection is solid all around, but I think ‘The Revel’ is a good jumping off point. It, like most of John Langan’s work, is uniquely structured. It’s a werewolf story, a look into the tropes of horror film, and one heck of a story all around. If you like your horror intellectual, this is a great place to start.
That’s all for now! There are plenty of writers that I love that deserve acclaim, and I can’t wait to fill you in! Until next time everybody…